The Ruling of Reading with Tajweed
Imaam Muhammad Ibn Al-Jazari who was a great Quran and Hadeeth scholar of the 9th Hijri century, stated in his famous poem that details the rules of Tajweed:
"And applying Tajweed is an issue of absolute necessity, Whoever doesn't apply Tajweed to the Quran, then a sinner is he."
Hence, applying the rules of Tajweed is an obligation to keep away from the major mistakes in reciting the Quran. The scholars have divided the types of mistakes one might fall into when reciting the Quran into two:
1. Clear mistakes: which usually change obvious things and change the meaning.
2. Hidden mistakes: for which one may need to study Tajweed rules.
The majority of scholars agree that applying the Tajweed rules of the Quran such that the clear mistakes are avoided is an individual obligation (Fardh 'Ayn) upon every Muslim who has memorised part or all of the Quran, while applying the rules of Tajweed to avoid the hidden mistakes is a collective obligation (Fardh Kifaayah) upon Muslims. That is, there must be some students of knowledge who have knowledge of that. This is because the Quran was revealed with the Tajweed rules applied to it, and the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) recited it back to Jibreel (Alayhi Salam) in that way and the companions of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) read it in that way, so it is an established Sunnah (Prophetic tradition or practice).
The list below shows the type of mistakes under each category:Clear Mistakes:
Mistakes related to correct pronunciation of letters so that letters are not mixed up in a way that changes their meaning. Scholars and ordinary Muslims alike should avoid these.Examples of Clear Mistakes:
• Changing one letter into another or a short vowel (Harakah) into another (e.g. changing Fat-hah into Dhammah or the letter Qaaf into Kaaf, etc)
• Not observing the elongations (Madd) at all. Reciting them quickly as if there is no Madd so that they turn into the length of a vowel.
• Making a Madd letter which out of a normal Harakah.
• Stopping or starting at an incorrect place so that the meaning is spoilt, like stopping at 'Laa ilaaha' (i.e., there is nothing worthy of worship), without completing 'illallaah' (except Allah).Hidden Mistakes:
Mistakes which have to do with perfecting pronunciation and are not obvious. These are known only by those who have studied Tajweed rules or are experts in this field. Ordinary Muslims may not know such mistakes or perceive them to be so.Examples of Hidden Mistakes:
• Not being totally exact with the elongation of letters: (Making the Madd shorter or longer by a 1/2 or even 1/4 degree, etc.)
• Not observing the attributes of each letter perfectly: (Slightly rolling the Raa', or exaggerating the 'N' sound in Noon etc.)
• Not observing the rules with which to pronounce letters when they are next to each other (like not merging certain letters that should be merged (Idghaam) and not clearly pronouncing those which should be clearly pronounced (Ith-haar) etc.)
• Making light letters sound heavy and heavy letters sound light (except if by doing this one changes a letter into another; in which case it would be an obvious mistake.)
Among the proofs that the scholars bring to show the obligation of Tajweed and its being an established Sunnah is that Almighty Allah Says in the Quran (what mean): "…And recite the Quran with measured recitation." [Quran 73]
There are various Prophetic narrations also showing us the importance of Tajweed. Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, was asked about the recitation of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) and she described it as a recitation: "Clearly-distinguished, letter by letter".
The Quran is the word of Allah, and its every syllable is from Allah. Its recitation must be taken very seriously. The purpose of the Science of Tajweed, in essence, is to make the reciter proficient in reciting the Quran, observing the correct pronunciation of every letter with the rulings and characteristics which apply to it, without any exaggeration or deficiency. Through this, the reciter can recite the Quran according to the way of the Prophet who received it from Jibreel who received it from Almighty Allah in the Classical Arabic language.
Each Arabic letter has a Makhraj (an exit or articulation point from which it originates) and Sifaat (attributes or characteristics). Knowing the Makhraj and Sifaat of each letter is an important part of Tajweed.
Sometimes two letters have very similar exits, which makes mixing them up easy.
So, if a person does not know the attributes of each letter, he may change the meaning of the words in Quran recitation. Observing the rules of Tajweed in reciting prevents the reciter from making mistakes in reciting the Quran.